The normal state of the art(ist)

The frozen leaves -
if you are in the creative soul's hell, you will see them:
all the mis-told stories, 
all pathetic poems,
all the letters you wrote, 
all diary pages, 
all the lecture notes, 
grocery lists, 
excuses to your children's teachers, 
silly postcards, 
and - all the music 
- cold, still, looking strange, wrong, 
handled with or without care,
 and then re-sent 
- deep frozen.
(Our hell isn't a warm place. We call it Nifelheim.) 

Mercury playground


Suddenly shadowed, the heavens imploded again
Dark clouds, dark grey over a quiet grey village
Thick curtains of crystals, wet, dropped down in silver

Shockingly cold, wrapping all ground in winter anew
like some sweet-scented lace, or a veil of white lilies
Laid folded in layers, wet, draped on the surface

Sun-melted then, when spring came to its nature once more,
was changing reflection, rejecting the goodness
in children out playing, wet, dipped in the snow drifts

Mercury, mercury, changing forever its silvery wings
Projecting and fleeing, like letters and mirrors
The playground now poisoned, wet, drowned in the icing

Maria Ljungdahl, april 2008

These crumbs belong to a lost shadow

Once upon a time
about twelve 
or three hundred months ago or so
In an empty cottage next to the silent woods
there lived a shadow in a dark corner
In the attic
Waiting for a lost soul to find their childhood again
and some peace 
from this world of conflicts and critique

A lonely winter passed
Hundreds of years of winters
if you recall and understand their story
Snow fell
Trees fell
Hearts ached with unknown pain 
Invisible disease
Not the easy road
Not the simple way
like things are supposed to be solved
in this world of practical solutions and logic

These crumbs here belong to a lost shadow
These meals and the wine were meant for company
The walls
the floor
the roof
The doors are waiting
The words unread and unwritten
And the world just continues its reality like before

Maria Ljungdahl, september 2007 

Gold is wherever you look

Lines written in celebration of a natural phenomenon

Gold is wherever you look -
up the treetops, down in the moss.
Be glad; enjoy your fortune
while you can feel and see it -
this luck won't stay forever with us.

These are the days
when the aspen shines
more brightly than the sun.

These leaves are the lights;
the aspen trees the guides
on your path to winter.

No more green;
no need for shade.

These last weeks of the mushroom season
bright chanterelles have grown -
after the rain, the wind, the unpleasantness -
in unexpected places;
in aromatic abundance.

Recall when all is dark, cold, hidden:
rustling light; fragrant gold.


When time

Some people have a completely circular
Where a certain
I followed
And there, out in the dark, we are
Winds whirling around the Earth
Night cries
As a bumble bee, against the glass
A nude guitar
Rose, fire, turquoise, amethyst

When time has passed

Art and soul


Love you

An old building

Lights music smiles

Art has a value

Candles chords colours

Soul with soul

Sound and happy for a while

Funny my

Sorrow in the colour of a summer sky

I was a baby and unafraid

Lifted in the air, by father

Then I was older 

Sitting on a rock, at the sea

And knew the dangers

The slippery region near the water

Strange swimming creatures, flowing algae

To avoid, stay on dry land in the sun

Enjoy the nearness of the cold waves

The talking winds from the south

Walk on shining stone, wet sand

And barefoot on lichen, needles

Please behave well in the boat, or

Make another of those paper dolls

Princesses, witches and brides

Type a fairy tale

Play with the cards

In the old summer house

While the women prepare dinner

Cleaning fish and potatoes in seawater

Blueberries in the wood

Tea water in the well

Maybe tomorrow

November story

Like a garden pavilion from anno dazumal,
the multi-stemmed pine grows on the shore.
Heavy limbs bend down like a pagoda roof,
protecting against the autumn grief.
The view out over the lake is calming.
The surface is grey and closed,
like a turned-off television receiver.

No disturbing signals reach us here today.

In the pine tree’s top lives a wise old dragon.
It is dangerous to be seen on this track,
where the moss is weaving gobelins between the roots.
The night will come, and Saturn —
like the fireplace with its ring of stones.
After every end, we will find
still another day to be together on,
before the whiteness, the snow

TRANSLATIONS from Rilke's poems:


Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.


The foliage falling drops as from afar,
as if some heavenly garden drops its foliage;
is falling slowly, with denying gestures.

And nightly hours falls the lonely Gaia
her heavy body drops down from the stars.

We are all falling. See, this hand will drop.
And watch the other one: this is in all things.

But still there is someone, who can hold the falling

and in his tender hands the fall will stop.



Nu löven singlar, singlar som från skyn,
likt himmelska planteringar förvissnar;
de faller med förnekande små gester.

Och under natten faller tunga jorden
ur stjärnehimlen i sin ensamhet.

Vi alla faller. Så faller denna hand.
Och se den andra här: det gäller alla.

Och ändå finns det en, som allt i detta fallet

oändligt ömt i sina händer bär.



Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Fruchten voll zu sein;
gieb innen noch zwei sudlichere Tage,
drange sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Susse in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her

unruhig wandern, wenn die Blatter treiben. 


Autumn day

Lord: now is the day. Great were the summer hours.
Let all your shadows veil the sundial flowers,
and on the fields let all the winds blow free.

Command these last fruits to be full and ripe;
just grant the juice two days more on the south side.
To push the wine's perfection you will hurry
the last sweet taste into the heavy grapes.

Those who are homeless will not build a house now.
Those who are lonely will not find a partner,
will sleepless wait, will read, write lengthy letters
and aimless walk the avenues and alleys,
impatient, restless, like the drifting leaves there.



Gud: nu är tid. Vår sommar räckte långt.

Låt dina skuggor skymma solurstiden,

och över bördig jord släpp stormen lös.

Befall de sista frukterna att mogna;

men ge dem ett par dagar till i solen,

en uppmaning att fulländas, du hetsar

så fram den sista sötmans tunga vin.


Är någon hemlös, skall han så förbli.

Är han allena, kommer det att vara.

Han vakar, läser, skriver brev på brev

och vankar i alléerna bland löven

så oroligt och planlöst som de far.


German original texts: Rainer Maria Rilke

Swedish and English interpretations: MaLj 2006